Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rachel Held Evans: "10 Things I’ve Learned About Church History"

10 Things I’ve Learned About Church History from ‘The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Justo L. Gonzalez
by Rachel Held Evans
May 22, 2013
A couple weeks ago it occurred to me that I know next to nothing about church history. So, in an effort to remedy that situation, I ordered The Story of Christianity, Volumes 1 and 2, by Justo Gonzalez from Amazon, and brought them with me to the beach—you know, for a little light reading.
Here are a few random observations from my first week of reading:
1. Christians have never been in full agreement when it comes to theology. (And our little theological blog spats have NOTHING on the Arian controversy or the Inquisition, let me tell you!) But often, these disagreements and controversies lead to important developments in Christian thought, theology, and practice. The Nicene Creed, for example, was formulated largely as a response to Arianism. (The Apostle’s Creed is older.) I find this oddly comforting. There’s less pressure to figure everything out. We’re always in process, always debating and discussing, always getting a little bit right and a lot wrong.
2. Constantine was not baptized until just before his death. And his conversion to Christianity is as big a deal as we make it out to be. It changed Christianity forever and marked the beginning of an ongoing, uncomfortable, and at times destructive relationship between Christianity and power.
3. Calls for social justice aren’t new or trendy, but have been a part of church teachings for many centuries.  See the writings of John Chrysostom, Basil, Ambrose, St. Francis, and many others. “If one who takes the clothing off another is called a thief, why give any other name to one who can clothe the naked and refuses to do so?” wrote Basil. “The bread that you withhold belongs to the poor; the cape that you hide in your chest belongs to the naked; the shoes rotting in your house belong to those who must go unshod.”
4. Also not as new as I once thought: bishops, and church hierarchy in general.
5. I always thought that the Council of Nicea marked the final acceptance of orthodoxy when it came to the divinity of Christ. But Arianism—the belief that Jesus was created by God as a subordinate and separate entity, not the incarnation of God—made a pretty serious comeback, and with the support of the empire, it nearly won the day! Jerome wrote that “the world woke up as from a slumber, and discovered itself to be Arian.” Athanasius and other supporters of Nicene theology were exiled and persecuted for defending orthodoxy, but in the end, their tenacity, patience, and thoughtfulness prevailed. Also, Athanasius was nicknamed “the black dwarf.”
6. Pretty much every time I conclude that a Church Father seems like a pretty cool guy, I learn that he hated Jews and/or women.
7. I think it’s safe to say Saint Anthony was an introvert.
8. In the fourth and fifth centuries there was a Christian sect called Donatism. Some Donatists peasants were convinced that there was no death more glorious than that of the martyrs, but since the persecution of Christians had ended, they committed to violently resisting those they perceived to be heretics. Gonzalez writes that “in some cases, this quest for martyrdom rose to such a pitch that people committed mass suicide by jumping off cliffs"! Point: There's always this tendency to take a good thing to its extreme, whether it's respect for martyrdom, veneration of the saints, solitude, aestheticism, or even engagement with the culture.
9. Monastics have always struggled to hold in tension the desire for solitude with the importance of community and service.
10. Gonzalez thanks his word processor in the Preface.  That seems worth noting.
I’ll post 10 more things when I’ve finished reading!
I’ve found that most Christians know very little about the history of the church. And we Protestants have the unfortunate habit of skipping from the epistles of Paul to Martin Luther and the 95-theses, leaving centuries of church history in the dust.
How can we do better?
And what have you learned about church history lately? Any fun facts?